If we are unable to digest our foods, there's a good chance that we're not absorbing many of the nutrients in the foods we eat. A lot of the nutrients in vegetables are stored in its tough fibers. Unless we break down these vegetable fibers, our bodies will not be able to use these nutrients. Cooking with low to medium heat is usually enough to help break down or ‘predigest’ these fibers so that we can access the minerals and nutrients.
Açaí berries are grown in Central and South America and are the fruit of the Amazon palm tree. They are high in antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus — meaning they definitely live up to their superfood designation. Studies have shown that these berries can help suppress and repair oxidative damage and help you maintain normal blood sugar.

A: The theory behind this diet is that raw foods are packed with natural enzymes, and that if they're cooked above 116° F, the heat will destroy most of the vitamins, phytonutrients, and enzymes in foods like cauliflower and broccoli. Although weight loss is likely on a raw food diet due to the diet's low-calorie status and the elimination of high-calorie processed food, cooked food has nutritional and safety benefits.
Every other month, some new diet is trending. Remember that time when South Beach was huge? Or when you walked into a CrossFit box and heard the word "paleo" 32 times within five minutes? Sure, buzzy diets go in and out of the limelight, but one recent GrubHub study reveals that the raw food diet is soaring in popularity. With a 92 percent increase in raw food orders over the past year, it appears that customers like their food uncooked and with a lack of preservatives.
Every other month, some new diet is trending. Remember that time when South Beach was huge? Or when you walked into a CrossFit box and heard the word "paleo" 32 times within five minutes? Sure, buzzy diets go in and out of the limelight, but one recent GrubHub study reveals that the raw food diet is soaring in popularity. With a 92 percent increase in raw food orders over the past year, it appears that customers like their food uncooked and with a lack of preservatives.
In their quests to get trim, many dieters think that refraining from a few olive oil drizzles will help cut calories and boost overall weight loss; meanwhile, it’s actually the complete opposite. The heart-healthy oil helps unlock the nutritional benefits of fat-soluble vitamins’ (vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are found in many veggies like salad greens). Olive oil is also linked to reducing weight circumference and preventing heart disease, giving you the green light to dress that spinach salad.

No way could we have a “best foods for weight loss” list without this slice of heaven. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants known as flavonoids, which promote good heart health. As a bonus, an ounce of 70-85 percent cacao dark chocolate has 3 grams of fiber and 64 grams of magnesium, which supports nerve and muscle function, immune health, and bone strength. For maximum benefits, reach for a bar with at least 70 percent cacao. “The higher the percentage, the more antioxidant content,” according to Cleveland Clinic Wellness.

All involve eating whole foods (as opposed to packaged and processed) and filling your plate with quality sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich vegetables. (Again, we’re talking about the ones that fall somewhere on the healthy spectrum, not unhealthy fad diets like, ahem, the Grapefruit Diet.)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we believe that raw foods are too ‘cold’ — or yin — in nature and require too much energy from the body to digest. The cold, hard-to-digest nature of raw foods puts a damper on the body’s digestive fires. Overtime, this can weaken the body’s digestive system causing bloating, glassiness and poor absorption of the nutrients in foods. The body’s energy becomes depleted from having to support the weakened digestive system which results in less energy for other bodily functions such as reproductive organs. I often tell my patients to lightly cook their vegetables by steaming, sautéing, or baking.

Although there's very little research on the raw food diet, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that following a strict raw food diet may be associated with elevated risk factors for heart disease. Researchers examined the nutritional status of people who had been following a raw food diet (at least 70 percent raw food) for at least two years. They found that only 14 percent had elevated LDL cholesterol levels and none had high triglycerides.

And there are some unique benefits of consuming produce raw: "Raw foods require more chewing than cooked food," says Deanna Minich, Ph.D., C.N., author of The Complete Handbook of Quantum Healing. "And when we chew, we stimulate different parts of the brain that correspond to learning and memory." One Cardiff University study of 133 volunteers zeroed in on the benefits of chewing gum (which isn't allowed on the raw food diet, FTR) during a testing period. Those who chewed gum reported a more positive mood, greater alertness, and improved selective and sustained attention than those who didn't.
When in doubt, try steaming: It uses very little water and only a short time in heat, so veggies shouldn't lose very many nutrients at all. For some vegetables, research even shows that steaming can potentially increase a food's cancer-killing properties. A study done by some researchers at the University of Illinois found that when broccoli was heated through steaming, the number of sulforaphanes (a compound in broccoli that fights cancer) increased. Microwaving the broccoli also kept this beneficial compound intact, later research showed.
Alternative medicine—A system of healing that rejects conventional, pharmaceutical-based medicine and replaces it with the use of dietary supplements and therapies such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, massage, and cleansing diets. Alternative medicine includes well-established treatment systems such as homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ayurvedic medicine, as well as more-recent, fad-driven treatments.
“The difference is not so much in how a nutritionist and an owner define raw, the difference is more in what is considered balanced,” Alinovi says. For example, some dogs lose too much weight on raw food diets and might need the help of a nutritionist to figure out what to add to the mix (such as cooked grains or additional fat) to solve the problem.
In a small study, 32 people adopted a diet that got at least 62 percent of daily calories from raw food (and the rest from cooked foods). That's pretty standard, since most raw foodists go 75- to 80-percent raw. After nearly seven months, the participants had lost an average of 8 3/10 pounds, according to findings published in the Southern Medical Journal. And in a three-month study reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 43 people following a raw food diet lost 9 percent of their initial body weight. If you're overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight can help stave off some diseases.
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